Guy Gavriel Kay

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Guy Gavriel Kay
Biographical Information
Born7 November 1954
WebsiteOfficial website

Guy Gavriel Kay (7 November 1954) is a Canadian author who moved to Oxford in 1974 to assist Christopher Tolkien on publishing The Silmarillion. Since then, Kay has went on to become a multiple award-winning fantasy author.[1]

Work on The Silmarillion

Christopher Tolkien has commented that "almost every substantial change", made to his father's manuscripts for publication as The Silmarillion in 1977, was:

discussed with Guy Kay. He indeed made many suggestions for the construction of the text (such as, in the tale of Beren and Lúthien, the introduction of a passage from the Lay of Leithian), and proposed solutions to problems arising in the making of a composite narrative -- in some cases of major significance to the structure ...


When asked how J.R.R. Tolkien influenced his work, Kay responded:

The influences are complex and might be unexpected. Take too long to answer properly. I'll say this, the main effect of my year working on The Silmarillion was to reduce the level of awe and the sense of a vast shadow (if I may put it that way, speaking of this!) lying over High Fantasy. Because I saw the false starts, the errors, the drafts and redrafts, I emerged, quite young, with a sense that The Lord of the Rings and his other work had not simply sprung full-grown from the high brow of easy genius, but that long, diligent work might produce something. I was desensitized, in a way, to intimidation.

When asked by another website how Tolkien affected his work, Kay responded:

I think, looking back, that the exposure to JRRT's drafts, notes, false starts, dead ends helped to make me less awed and intimidated, later, when I started my own large fantasy. At the time I began Fionavar most of the 'serious' writers exploring fantasy were working AWAY from the epic form, as if surrendering it. That was the period when, for example, 'urban fantasy' was being shaped. My experience with The Silmarillion and the papers helped me to avoid that need to 'go somewhere else' in fiction. Later, I did move elsewhere to a degree, but it was because I was testing my own boundaries as a writer, not because I was abandoning the form.

Kay has further commented that "Tolkien is a master class in harnessing myth and legend to narrative and theme."[1]

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Interview with Guy Gavriel Kay" dated 21 March 2013, (accessed 23 March 2013)
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Lost Road and Other Writings, "Part Two: Valinor and Middle-earth before The Lord of the Rings, VI. Quenta Silmarillion", p. 302
  3. "Transcript of Chat with Guy Gavriel Kay" dated 8 April 1999, (archived) (accessed 23 March 2013)
  4. "Other Fantasy: Guy Gavriel Kay (unavailable)" dated 19 August 2005, (archived) (accessed 23 March 2013)